Test Automation University by the Numbers

Events — Published March 13, 2023

Test Automation University (TAU) is the premier platform for learning about software testing and automation. Powered by Applitools, TAU offers dozens of courses on all testing topics imaginable from the world’s best instructors for FREE.

In this article, I’d like to share a breakdown of Test Automation University by the numbers: all the stats and metrics that we gather for insights into the program. I also shared this information in my keynote address for Test Automation University’s 2023 conference, What’s New With TAU? Let’s dive in!

Students, courses, and achievements

Believe it or not, it’s been four years since Applitools launched TAU! Four years is a long time. That’s as long as a typical college undergraduate degree.

I remember feeling thrilled when Applitools first launched TAU. Before then, there wasn’t any cohesive, community-oriented education platform for testing and automation. Most schools barely included testing topics in their programs. While the Web had a wealth of information, it was difficult to know which resources were both comprehensive and trustworthy. Test Automation University provided a central platform that could be trusted with literally the best and the brightest instructors in the world.

Now, I can’t imagine a world without TAU. At least once a week, someone I’ve never met before slides into my DMs and asks me, “Andy, how can I start learning about testing and automation?” I literally just tell them, “Have you heard of Test Automation University?” Boom. Done. I don’t have to check my bookshelf for titles or do a quick search for blog articles. I just say go to TAU. They’re always grateful.

And when they do go to TAU, they join our ever-growing community of students! Just last month, we crossed 150 thousand registered “TAU-dents”! That’s a huge size for any community.

Every time we’ve hit a milestone, we’ve celebrated. When we hit 50 thousand students in June 2020, we threw our first TAU Party. Then, when we hit 100 thousand students, we hosted TAU: The Homecoming, our first virtual conference. That’s when I first joined Applitools. Now, at 150 thousand students, we’re hosting our second virtual conference.

Our growth is also accelerating. Historically, we have grown by 50 thousand students about every year and a half. This most recent milestone happened a little sooner than expected.

Every week, about 800 to 1000 new students sign up for TAU. That’s sustained, consistent growth. It’s awesome to see all the new students joining every week.

Over 4 years, we have published a total of 73 courses. That’s a lot of content! A single course has at least 4 chapters with at least 30 minutes of video lessons. Most courses average about 8 chapters over an hour of content, and our longest courses stretch to 6 hours! We try to publish a new course about once a month. And the best part is that every one of our courses is completely, totally, absolutely FREE!

Our courses would be nothing without the excellent instructors who teach them. To date, we have 48 different instructors who have produced courses for TAU. These folks are the real superstars. They are bona fide software testing champions. Let me tell you, it is no small effort to develop a TAU course.

When Applitools first launched TAU back in 2019, I remember thinking to myself as a younger panda, “Man, that’s awesome. I wish I could be part of that. Maybe someday I can develop a TAU course and be like them.” A few months later, Angie Jones slid into my DMs and asked me if I’d want to develop my first course: Web Element Locator Strategies. In all honesty, TAU is one of the main reasons I work at Applitools today!

Let’s look at achievements next. In total, all students have completed 162 thousand courses! That’s 162 thousand certificates and 162 thousand badges, averaging slightly more than 1 course completion per student.

The credit total is even more impressive. Our students have earned about 116 million course credits. That’s just under 800 credits per student, which correlates to about one course’s worth of credits. 116 million credits earned is a mind-blowing number, and that total is only going to increase with time.

Course completion analysis

Those are just some raw numbers on TAU. I also did some deeper analysis on our courses to learn what topics and formats are most valuable to our community. Let’s take a look at that together.

When evaluating courses, the main metric I measure is course completion – meaning, how many students completed the course and earned a certificate. Anyone can start a course, but it takes dedication to complete the course. Completion signals the highest level of engagement with TAU: a student must dedicate hours of study and coding to earn a course badge.

My goal for any course we publish – and how I determine if a course is “successful” in most basic terms – is to consistently hit 30 completions per month, or 1 completion per day. Very popular courses hit 2 completions per day, and our most popular courses hit at least 3 completions per day.

Our top 10 courses are all in that upper echelon of completion rate. Our most popular course by far is Angie JonesSetting a Foundation for Successful Test Automation, followed by my course, Web Element Locator Strategies.

All three of our programming courses – Java, JavaScript, and Python – appear in the top 10. Rounding out the top 10 are courses on Selenium WebDriver, Cypress, API testing, and IntelliJ IDEA. If you want to see more details about the most popular TAU courses, check out the article I wrote about it a few months ago on the Applitools blog. Note that some small shifts have happened since I wrote that article, but the information is still mostly accurate.

When partitioning the full catalog of courses by the programming languages they use, we can see that Java and JavaScript dominate the landscape. This should be no surprise, since those two languages are by far the most popular languages for test automation. Applitools product data also backs this up. TAU offers a good number of Python and C# courses that are reasonably popular. I personally developed 3 of those 7 Python courses. TAU also offers a handful of courses that use Ruby and other languages. Unfortunately, however, we have discovered that those courses, especially for Ruby, have very low completion rates. Again, I surmise that this reflects broader industry trends.

I also analyzed the completion rate for a course versus its length. What I found is probably not surprising: shorter courses have higher completion rates, while longer courses have lower completion rates. The average completion rate for all courses is 57%. The breaking point appears to be at about two hours, with a sweet spot between 60-90 minutes. Since we want to encourage course completions, we are going to encourage instructors to produce courses in the hour-to-hour-and-a-half range moving forward.

So, what’s next?

These numbers describe TAU as it is today. In my next article, I’ll share all the new plans we have for TAU, including upcoming courses!

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